How to get started in Golf
It burns more calories than a sweaty spin class, gets you out of the gym and into the open air, allows you to spend quality time with your favourite people (or make a bunch of new friends) and challenges you to learn a new skill. Golf has a lot going for it!
With courses up and down the country from traditional clubs to smaller, more informal options, there’s an offering for every budget and every postcode – and thanks to the unique handicap scoring system all abilities can play together, too.
“A handicap is the number of strokes you can remove from your total score for a round”, explains Lauren Spray, Women’s Participation Manager at England Golf. “Traditionally men have a handicap of 28, women 36 and juniors 29-54 but your club can work yours out if you submit three score cards of 18 holes. The better the player, the lower the handicap and it means talented golfers can play newbies and it will still be competitive.” So no, on this occasion hubby isn’t suggesting a sport you play together just so he can win!
What are the benefits?
Did we mention the 900 calories burned on an 18-hole course? Yes? We just can’t quite get over it! And it could be even more if you carry your own golf bag. “Walking keeps you fit and tones muscles with less wear and tear than sports like running, it gets you outdoors, which is proven to help improve mood and calm stress, and it’s great for bone strength too”, says Lauren.
The fact it’s played over several hours (or two for a 9-hole course) means you have plenty of time to chew the fat and then enjoy a glass of wine in the clubhouse afterwards, so it’s a sociable sport. It can be as competitive or relaxed as you like, and you can play as part of a team or as a pair.
What kit do I need?
Worry not, you don’t have to wear the checked trousers, visor and argyle knits! “Just wear trainers and comfortable clothes”, says Lauren. “Beginner courses will provide clubs, balls and tees.” Most seasoned golfers carry up to 14 clubs, but when you start out a combination of 5 woods and irons plus a putter is all you need. Again, the club will provide these for you.
How do I get started?
Head to www.getintogolf.org to find a beginners course near you. “Relaxed group lessons teach you everything from how to warm up, to how to hold the club, taking a swing to perfecting your technique”, says Lauren. Plus they unlock the lingo, so you’ll no longer be giggling at ‘birdies’ and ‘bogies’ and you’ll be dropping ‘fairways’, ‘divots’ and ‘bunkers’ into conversations like a pro.
A five week course costs around £25, with some women-only courses available or you can sometimes do it all in a day for the same fee. Lots of clubs have flexible memberships that won’t cost a fortune and there’s equipment and clothing to suit every budget, too. See you on the green!